Interview tips to make the best impression

ImageEven the smartest and most qualified job seekers need to prepare for job interviews. Why, you ask? Interviewing is a learned skill, and there are no second chances to make a great first impression. So study these 10 strategies to enhance your interview IQ.

Practice Good Nonverbal Communication

It’s about demonstrating confidence: standing straight, making eye contact and connecting with a good, firm handshake. That first impression can be a great beginning — or quick ending — to your interview.

Dress for the Job or Company

Today’s casual dress codes do not give you permission to dress as “they” do when you interview. It is important to look professional and well-groomed. Whether you wear a suit or something less formal depends on the company culture and the position you are seeking. If possible, call to find out about the company dress code before the interview.


From the very beginning of the interview, your interviewer is giving you information, either directly or indirectly. If you are not hearing it, you are missing a major opportunity. Good communication skills include listening and letting the person know you heard what was said. Observe your interviewer, and match that style and pace.

Don’t Talk Too Much

Telling the interviewer more than he needs to know could be a fatal mistake. When you have not prepared ahead of time, you may tend to ramble, sometimes talking yourself right out of the job. Prepare for the interview by reading through the job posting, matching your skills with the position’s requirements and relating only that information.

Don’t Be Too Familiar

The interview is a professional meeting to talk business. This is not about making a new friend. Your level of familiarity should mimic the interviewer’s demeanor. It is important to bring energy and enthusiasm to the interview and to ask questions, but do not overstep your place as a candidate looking for a job.

Use Appropriate Language

It’s a given that you should use professional language during the interview. Be aware of any inappropriate slang words or references to age, race, religion, politics or sexual orientation — these topics could send you out the door very quickly.

Don’t Be Cocky

Attitude plays a key role in your interview success. There is a fine balance between confidence, professionalism and modesty. Even if you’re putting on a performance to demonstrate your ability, overconfidence is as bad, if not worse, as being too reserved.

Take Care to Answer the Questions

When an interviewer asks for an example of a time when you did something, he is seeking a sample of your past behavior. If you fail to relate a specific example, you not only don’t answer the question, but you also miss an opportunity to prove your ability and talk about your skills.

Ask Questions

When asked if they have any questions, most candidates answer, “No.” Wrong answer. It is extremely important to ask questions to demonstrate an interest in what goes on in the company. Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to find out if this is the right place for you. The best questions come from listening to what is asked during the interview and asking for additional information.

Don’t Appear Desperate

When you interview with the “please, please hire me” approach, you appear desperate and less confident. Maintain the three C’s during the interview: cool, calm and confident. You know you can do the job; make sure the interviewer believes you can,

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5 Small Business Trends for 2013

Gamification?  Another thing on my to-do list. 

Mobile app – working on it…

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13 Quick Tips To Optimise your LinkedIn Profile

ISra Garcia explains how to improve LinkedIn profile very eloquently.

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Job Market Monitor

During the recession that began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, millions of employed individuals lost their jobs and the ranks of the unemployed nearly doubled. In the aftermath, the number of jobless who were unemployed for 27 weeks or more continued to rise for about a year until early 2010, when it began to level off. In 2007, the median number of weeks that jobseekers were unemployed in the month prior to finding work was 5.2 weeks. In sharp contrast that emphasizes the severity of  the 2007–2009 economic downturn, the median length of time for a successful job search doubled to 10.4 weeks by 2010. In 2011, it changed little, edging down to 10.0 weeks. Comparatively, during the robust economic expansion of the late 1990s and early 2000s, the median length of time that the jobless took to find work was about 4 weeks. This measure had reached as high as 6.1 weeks in the aftermath of the 2001 recession…

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Interviewing – Integrity Questions

(Many of these questions are illegal in Texas to be asked in the interview process)

Below are additional questions that can be used during an in-depth integrity interview.
• Tell me every job you have had in the past 10 years, including start and end date, salary, job title when started and ended and supervisor, including names, addresses and phones.
• Are there any falsifications on your application?
• Did you leave any jobs off your application?
• How will your previous employers describe your attendance? Excellent- O.K. – Poor
• How many days have you missed in the last year?
• How many verbal/written reprimands for attendance in the past 2 years?
• How many tardiness’ were recorded in your personnel file in the last year/job? Why?
• How many disciplinary actions in the past 3 years?
• Where have you been suspended? Why?
• Where have you been fired or asked to resign? Why?
• Will any of your previous employers say they let you go or fired you?
• Where will you receive your best evaluation? The worst evaluation?
• Where have you suspected or had knowledge of co-workers or supervisors stealing?
• What have you taken?
• What will he found when your criminal record is checked? (Note: convictions will not necessarily disqualify any applicant employment)
• What does your current DMV (driving record) show in the way of violations?
• Describe your best work related qualities
• What is the worst thing any former employer will say about you?
• Whom do you know at (xxx employer)?
• Last time in possession of illegal drugs?
• What is your current use (last 6 months) controlled substance? … Marijuana? … Cocaine?… Speed? … PCP? … LSD? … Hashish? … Other?
• What is your current use of alcohol?
• Has the use of alcohol ever interfered with your work?
• To what extent do you gamble?
• Has gambling ever been a problem for you?
• Have you ever been the subject of or a witness in any type of investigation at work?

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Interviewing – Open-Ended and Follow-Up Questions

A proven technique of an integrity interview is the use of “open-ended” and “follow-up” questions. A key to using this technique is for the interviewer not to have any information beforehand about the applicant.

Let us say the interviewer starts with questions about a person’s job history. Since the interviewer does not have a resume or application, every question is “open-ended,” meaning the subject of the interview supplies all of the information and no part of the answer is suggested by the question. This is the opposite of a “leading” question where the question itself suggests an answer.

For example, if an interviewer says,  “I see you left Acme Industries due to a lay-off.” That is a leading question. It suggests the answer allowing the applicant to merely expand on that theme. An example of an open-ended question is “How long was your employment with Acme?” or “why did that employment end?”

It is critical to ask follow-up questions when the answers do not make sense. If an applicant says something that seems illogical, the interviewer should not hesitate to ask the applicant to review the answer. Sometimes it helps to ask the question from a different angle. For example, ask the applicant to describe in detail the events leading up to or after the event. If the applicant is making something up, that may readily be demonstrated. If an applicant gives a non-answer or an answer that is just too fast and too pat, then a follow-up question would be helpful. For example, if an applicant said, “We already covered that,” and the interviewer does not recall, simply say, “I must have missed it. Can we review that again?”

There are entire courses and seminars conducted on how to interview. As a practical matter, company managers and HR professionals are not expected to give every applicant the thud degree. However, interviewers should be trained so they are not to be so glued to the questioning process that they do not pay attention to how the answers are given.

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Resign from Your Job

Taking on a new role encourages people to look ahead – planning the next months and years of their lives. So with a new job offer in hand, it’s not surprising that some people put little time or effort into making sure they resign from their previous job on a good note.

Prepare: Think of resignation as you would a job interview. Put time and thought into it. Prepare what you are going to say, in what order, and to whom. You can do serious damage to working relationships if you tell the wrong people first (even in confidence) and somebody influential finds out second hand.
Be honest: Don’t withhold the truth from your employers and colleagues. Tell them up front that you are leaving.
Be succinct: Whether telling your boss in person or in writing, get straight to the point. Explain why you are leaving, but try to avoid expressing negative feelings.
Be flexible: If you can, negotiate a finishing date that suits your employer as well as you. Cooperate fully in handing over the files, documents, projects and clients you are working with prior to leaving.
Be realistic: If your resignation is coming “out of the blue,” expect a reaction from your employer. Allow time for the reaction to your news. If your manager becomes aggressive, confrontational or upset, don’t respond with similar behavior. Revert to your prepared comments.
Be diplomatic: If you think it is important to express your negative experiences, do it face to face. Don’t do it in writing. Again, use your prepared comments rather than doing this off the cuff.
Be appreciative: Thank your employers for past training and other opportunities. Thank your colleagues for what you have learned from them. Accentuate the positives – find something good to say.
Follow up in writing: Always send a letter of resignation to confirm – in writing – when you are leaving the organization.
Don’t burn your bridges: You might need to rely on your previous employer for references, advice or even a job! You also never know where people from your current place of work may end up in five or ten years’ time.
Look after number one: Make sure you know what you are entitled to when you leave, such as unused vacation or sick time. Get someone senior in the company to give you a reference.
Keep in touch: Be proactive about keeping in touch with the valuable contacts and friends you have developed in this role.
Dealing with a counter-offer: If you receive a counter-offer, take time to consider it. Has anything really changed? Is this what you really want? Think about the reasons you decided to take the new position in the first place. Given that you have already resigned, will it be easy for you to continue working in the same company? If you are seriously considering accepting the counter-offer, think about the impact it may have
on your relationship with your new employers – you may deal with them again in the future.

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